This paper begins by outlining the two-sided ‘ethical challenge’ that international sociology faces in the 21st century. First, formulating the ethical stance of a sociologist towards the subject of disciplinary inquiry and the potentially involved social groups. Second, elaborating the adequate research tools for studying the ethical dimension of globalizing social reality. We conduct a critical analysis of the current literature on these issues from the Global Sociology perspective. We show that the ‘value-involved’ Global Sociology is the only possible mode of successful and appealing international disciplinary practice. However, existing ‘value-involved’ approaches are Eurocentric by nature and lack sensitivity to the ethically diverse global social reality. We propose the conceptual framing of ‘Ethically Responsible Global Sociology’ as a new vision of our discipline in the global world.
According to Gadamer, the main distinguishing feature of hermeneutic experience is its ontological dimension epitomized by complex and multilayered transformative processes expressed in such formulae as ‘increasing in being’, ‘transformation into the true’ or ‘total mediation’. This notion of ontological experience as a transformative event allows two readings. The weak reading of Gadamer’s hermeneutic ontology (favoured by Gadamer himself as well as by all his interpreters and critics), laying the stress on interpreter’s self-consciousness, contents itself with just ‘subjective’ side of transformative effects of hermeneutic experience. The strong treatment of transformative potential of hermeneutic experience, which corresponds better to the universality claim of philosophical hermeneutics, presupposes equally strong transformation affecting not only interpreter’s self-consciousness but also her body as well as material environments of interpretive experience. We find the elements of such a ‘strong’ treatment of the transformative (i.e. ontological) potential of understanding in Gadamer’s conception of the speculative, adumbrated in the concluding sections of his ‘Truth and Method’. Drawing on this conception, the paper proposes the notion of transubstantiation as a model for describing the bodily-material dimension of transformative processes making up the core element of hermeneutic ontology.
The authors focus on the category of precarity that refers to the phenomenon of dynamic instability resulting from income fluctuation and frequent job changes. Precarious workers view their situation as deviating from the norm and standards of living typical of their immediate circles. Thus, the term precarity describes a situation which is beyond the scope of the labour market and not confined to categories representing non-standard employment relations. As both objective and subjective parameters need to be taken into consideration in precarity studies, the conceptualisation of the phenomenon should not be subject to rigid universalist categories. Identification criteria prove to be contextual. The authors are convinced that the term precarity denotes a fundamentally new phenomenon not reduced to employment insecurity situations of the past. The article demonstrates that it is wrong to equate the modern situation of precarity with the position of an exploited proletarian worker, as the structural components of the labour market have changed, and the experience of the previous generation has affected the development of employment standards used as a bench-mark today. The concept of precarity refers to a phenomenon without any precedents in the past and is highly relevant for studying modern labour markets.
The modern tradition of stratification research has seen a lot of problems of both the ontological (global economic and social transformations brought about by shift to the post-industrial society) and epistemological nature. These problems are particularly pressing for the stratification scholars in Russia due to the lack of a long-standing tradition of social structure research as compared to developed countries, an abundance of contrary viewpoints, and highly contrasting lifestyles of Russians caused by significant economic inequality, as well as cultural and regional differences. The authors of this publication believe that viewing lifestyles as a stratification aspect and criterion may be one of the solutions to the crisis. The publication presents a critical review of the existing approaches to lifestyle groups research. The authors put forward a number of suggestions on applying this approach in the Russian social structure studies.